“Two hours later we are here” as first jet arrives at St Helena.

The reality of regular air travel to and from St Helena is only weeks away as a large percentage of the Islands population witnessed the first ever jet landing at St

First Jet to arrive at St Helena Airport
First Jet to arrive St Helena Airport

Helena Island today.  Incidentally the first ever aircraft to land at the Islands airport was a fixed wing prop driven Beechcraft Air King 200 which landed on Tuesday 15 September 2015 which was a calibration flight.  This same aircraft returned again in December 2015 for a second calibration flight as the DVOR and other instrumentation was inappropriately sited and required relocation.

ZS-ACT landing at HLE St Helena
ZS-ACT landing at HLE St Helena

The Bombardier Challenger 300 business Jet tail number ZS-ACT approached the runway at exactly 11.30hrs GMT as keen photographers representing various organisations positioned themselves on Mole Spider Hill immediately behind the Terminal on a partially overcast Sunday morning and sought out what they thought would offer them the optimum viewing platform from which to photograph the first ever jet engine aircraft to land on St. Helena Island.  The yell went…. “There it is”!  The camera shutters almost sounded deafening for a few moments disturbed only by the onshore breeze which seemed to be

Taxing at St Helena Airport
Taxing at St Helena Airport

increasing for a while right before the 21m long aircraft was sighted.  The Bombardier Challenger 300 glimmered momentarily in the sunlight as she banked to port and began her final decent and touched down.  It took all of one full minute from the time that the aircraft was flying abreast of the rocky coastline to the landing, a perfect landing executed with precision.

Arriving on the flight was Justin Rothwell the team leader of the Air SSI team along with Nigel Kirby from DFID, Nigel Kirby who is in charge of the Engineering of the Airport construction seen here in the red shirt also arrived said “Just over two hours ago I was in Africa and now I am on St. Helena Island.  I have visited St Helena twenty times by ship in connection with the airport and today I have just landed by Jet Aircraft. It was a wonderful trip and what a smooth landing we had”

 

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